Film: The Shawshank Redemption 1994 Directed by Frank Darabont
The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of a banker, Andy Dufresne, whom is sentenced to a life in prison for murdering his wife and her secret lover. Over 20 years at the Shawshank State Penitentiary, Andy befriends a fellow prisoner by the name of Red, “Ellis Redding”, a smuggler; he also is a key part to a money laundering scheme by the head prison warden.
As Andy helps a fellow inmate, Brooks, he works in the library and after the warden discovers his banking intelligence the whole prison community uses him to manage financial matters. Andy began as an under dog who was beaten by other inmates and never spoke a word. He was a middle to upper class man and was brought into another social heir-achy that brought danger, isolation but also comfort.
This so called comfort can be seen as a comfort in the social system after being locked in the walls for so long. Once setting the placement or where you stand within the social heir-achy of a prison, the world outside will pass by so quickly but you have the ease of little change and becoming in comfort with the environment you are in. I relate to this personally as when I moved towns and started school in Wanaka, it took me awhile to settle in and “find my place” as such. Unfortunately we do not come accustomed to a new environment in just one day, and now if I moved I would have to repeat the same thing somewhere else; I feel comfortable in my environment and know where I stand. It isn’t till Brooks sends a letter to Andy and the boys at Shawshank with his suicide letter when many of the men realise how they no longer feel confined in a ‘bad’ place but actually feel a sense of belonging. Another significant moment which I was compelled to think more about was when Red says to Andy, “all the men in here are free”, again it is a representation of how they feel the comfort of home. It is where they belong within the worldly society but the fact that they also have a place in the world that is not disregarded.
The Shawshank Redemption also illustrates the power of hope. Most likely one of the first signs of hope seen in the film is a poster of Rita Hayworth. Andy places this poster in his cell to remind him of the outside world and normal life but actually it is also hiding a hole that is dug over 25 years for his escape. This symbol is representing the beauty of hope. Like Andy says to red, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and, no good thing ever dies” , hope is what gets him through time.
Comfort brought among the men and the optimism of hope are two things that make this film stand out. This film has many more messages that I am sure many viewers will appreciate and relate to, but overall this film leaves a viewer with a satisfied time and a lot to think about in the indulgent plot.
Quote Weaving- Use a quotation in a sentence to express your own ideas.
“The thing is- fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream”
-Fear can’t hurt you
-The thing you fear can
-People act on fear
-It’s all in your head
The boys try to tell themselves “fear can’t hurt” them but…..
“Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of mans heart, and the fall through the air of the true wise friend called piggy”
-Ralph is finally allowed to bleed all the anxieties out of his system.
-He has tried so hard to survive and be a good leader but he has been putting his child like things behind him
Finally understanding what he had, “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of mans heart, and the fall through the air of the true wise friend called piggy” Piggy was a friend that he couldn’t forget…
“You got your small fire alright- The boys were falling still and silent, feeling the beginnings of awe at the power set free below them”
-Piggy points out that the island has been set on fire
-They feel like they have developed power for the first time in their lives.
Becoming island arsonists “feeling the beginnings of awe at the power set free below them” a little craziness is a light inside them, its a loss of innocence.
Elements in the text that represent something greater
The Conch Shell
The novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding uses a conch shell as an important object to convey other symbolic meanings. The story begins with two characters meeting on a beach after a plane crash, Ralph and Piggy. Together they find the conch shell on the beach at the beginning of the novel and from this point it begins to hold a glorious amount of symbolic power. “We can use this to call the others. Have a meeting. They’ll come when they here us-” As it is first used to call the scattered boys around the island its a symbol of law and order. It shows the power of who’s the elected and whom shall speak, the boys refer this to the “rule of the conch”. The absence of parents who can govern and look after the boys falls with the conch and the leader who holds it.
The governing the shell does is used at the general assemblies taken each morning and night or when necessary. Whoever holds the conch at the meeting then has the right to speak. The power that it perceives to have first shows when the children vote for ralph to be chief. ” Him with the shell! … Let him be chief with the trumpet thing!” this shows that everybody thinks that leadership, power and responsibility comes from the conch.
It doesn’t only act as a symbol of law and order but it actually obtains a political legitimacy and democratic power as a small island civilisation may begin to form, “Till the going gets gone- anon”.
Symbolism: Choose the symbols and write about them
-How is it described/introduced into the text
-How is it “used”
-Find quotes where it is mentioned
-What ideas does it convey?
- The conch is used as an orderly thing to call upon the boys for meetings
Civilisation- Fragile civil/social devision, Power, Survival